When David Feinberg, a scrap metal industry veteran, formed a partnership in 2011 with Eric Bell, an industry newcomer, the outlook for their new venture looked solid.
The young company—Philadelphia Metal and Resource Recovery—had an excellent location near Interstate 95 in an industrial section of Philadelphia. Feinberg previously operated a similar business at the same 4-acre site and was well-known among a group of scrap metal buyers and sellers. Additionally, markets for ferrous and nonferrous scrap metals were strong.
To get Philadelphia Metal off to a good start, the owners bought a new Doosan crawler excavator that has proven to be durable, he says.
Everything pointed to the company becoming a serious player in the scrap metal and recycling business in southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. About five years later, Philadelphia Metal was known as one of the area’s premier metal brokerage and processing firms—in spite of how markets evolved, with metals prices tumbling in 2015 and into 2016.
During that period, pricing for some scrap metal grades fell by as much as 75 percent, Feinberg says. Philadelphia Metal, like other companies in the industry, reduced operating hours and staff in response to this decline in scrap metal prices.
The company weathered the storm, and Feinberg says the market is better now than it was in 2016 and is a bit more stable. His company also has acquired new customers, contributing to its growth.
A full-service approach
Philadelphia Metal is a full-service enterprise that purchases, processes, packages, brokers and sells all grades of scrap metal. Some ferrous scrap grades are sold to steel mills, while others are sold to exporters. Nonferrous metals are sold either to larger brokers or directly to consumers.
The company is a big believer in intelligent resource management and reusing metals to protect the planet’s natural resources, divert metals from sanitary landfills and help customers’ recycling efforts.
“Our industrial clients like the fact that we aid in managing their scrap in a way that they can realize some profit,” Feinberg says. “We are always looking for any reusable materials that can be sold.”
He also is proud of the company’s automobile depollution center, where Philadelphia Metal’s staff removes gasoline, diesel, oil, coolant, window washer fluid, brake fluid, Freon and mercury switches from vehicles prior to shredding.
Several months before starting the new company, the partners decided a new crawler excavator was necessary to execute their strategic plan that focused on service. They wanted to get customers in and out efficiently and to sort and process materials fast.
“While evaluating several different machines, I learned that some others in our business had good success with the Doosan brand,” Feinberg says. “I knew from previous experience that the local dealer had a good reputation. Eventually, we focused our research on Doosan crawler excavators, specifically the DX300LC-3. It was very price-competitive and, from everything we could tell, it was comparable in quality to other leading similar-size products.”
The partners purchased their second DX300LC-3 one year later from Best Line Equipment, the local Doosan heavy equipment dealer. Philadelphia Metal has since added a third Doosan DX300LC-3 crawler excavator to its lineup.
The company also owns a Doosan DX210W wheeled excavator that works at a satellite operation.
“We need machines that can survive—and thrive—in a dirty, rugged environment,” Feinberg says. “Those three DX300LC-3s have been dependable workhorses. They load trailers, process and separate scrap throughout the day. That’s all they do, and they do it well.”
Cost-of-operation items—such as fuel efficiency, maintenance and parts expenses and downtime—are critical factors that help the owners of Philadelphia Metal evaluate the value of its equipment.
The DX300LC-3 has easy access to key checkpoints, the cooling system and other critical components, which, he says, makes daily preventive maintenance simple. Feinberg says, “The Doosan excavators have lived up to our expectations.”
The company’s DX300LC-3 excavators are paired with a grapple attachment to lift and sort material, and they are outfitted with special guarding on the front and top of the cab for additional protection.
All of the equipment was purchased through Doosan financing programs, which Feinberg says were “very easy to work with.”
The DX300LC-3 crawler excavator falls within the 28-to-33-metric-ton machine class. The unit is designed to handle substantial loads of scrap metal, which is an important factor at the Philadelphia Metal facility.
“We try to focus our efforts on providing a good customer experience,” Feinberg says. “That means competitive pricing, easy access to our yard and no waiting for traffic or equipment. Our three Doosan excavators keep moving materials around our location so space is always available for the next load coming through the gate.”